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Diakonia StudiesCritical Issues in Ministry$
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John N. Collins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367573.001.0001

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Ministry Among Gifts

Ministry Among Gifts

(p.123) 8 Ministry Among Gifts
Diakonia Studies

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

Paul embeds teaching about gifts within an image of community as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). Here, an individual’s function remains proportionate to the needs of the whole community. Priorities of functions do exist, as with teaching roles: “first apostles, second prophets, third teachers” (12:28). Prophecy is a community-wide gift functioning as a portal to enlightenment. To contextualize the proportionality of functions, Paul presents a tripartite model of “gifts” (charismata), “ministries/diakoniai,” and “activities” (12:4–6). How we envisage this model working has implications for ecclesiology. Contemporary emphasis is upon the three elements as three names for the sum total of community life where “ministries/diakoniai” express themselves in relationships of mutual service. This model collapses, however, when we understand the Corinthians would have read Paul’s “ministries/diakoniai” as designating proclamation proper to teachers and apostles. Implied ministerial authority here is not to be identified with managerial authority.

Keywords:   diakonia, charismata, gifts, ministry, prophecy, ecclesiology

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